New Orleans (12-13) at Toronto (12-17)

Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 12:30 pm EST Sun Dec 20, 2009
  • TV: CBC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, Chris Paul(notes) seems to get especially motivated by the memory of lopsided defeats.

After avenging an embarrassing loss in last spring’s playoffs, Paul and the New Orleans Hornets look to avoid being swept in their season series with the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon.

Toronto used a 27-4 run in the third quarter to take control in a 107-90 win at New Orleans on Nov. 6. The Hornets trailed 83-65 at the end of the third quarter, suffering one of their worst losses of the season despite getting 21 points and 18 assists from Paul.

The embarrassment felt after a playoff loss to Denver drove the two-time All-Star point guard to have one of his best games of the season Friday night. He posted 30 points, a season-high 19 assists and added nine rebounds in a 98-92 victory over the Nuggets.

New Orleans trailed the first-round playoff series 3-1 after losing 121-63 at home April 27, then was ousted in the next game.

Paul scored 26 in the second half Friday and played a part in 41 of the Hornets’ 52 points over the final two quarters. It was his seventh straight double-double since returning from a left ankle sprain.

Paul can now help New Orleans (12-13) reach .500 for the first time since being 1-1, but it will have to find a way to solve its problems on the road.

The Hornets are 2-10 away from the New Orleans Arena, while Toronto is 8-5 at home.

“We’ll figure it out,” swingman Devin Brown(notes) told the Hornets’ official Web site. “We’ve still got a long way to go.”

Toronto (12-17) had lost four of five before beating New Jersey 118-95 on Friday night, shooting 59.0 percent after being held under 100 points in five of its previous six games.

“It shows us what we can be if we apply ourselves,” forward Chris Bosh(notes) said.

Bosh had 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes before joining the rest of the starters on the bench for the final quarter with the game well in hand. Bosh had 27 points, making all nine of his shots from the field, in this season’s first matchup with the Hornets.

Jose Calderon(notes) had 16 points and eight assists for Toronto in that game, but he has missed six of the last seven due to a sore left hip. Calderon, averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 6.2 assists, is day to day.

Jarrett Jack(notes) has been starting for Calderon. He is shooting 40.9 percent (9 for 22) from 3-point range in 11 games this month.

New Orleans has won two straight and three of its last four in Toronto, with the loss coming when Paul was sidelined.

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Sunday, Dec 20